Posted: 1:00 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013
By Armchair Analyst
On Saturday, Missouri takes on the Red Wolves of Arkansas State, and even though they've experienced some success in the last few years, the Wolves shouldn't be able to match up with the Tigers in Columbia. Thus, this week's winning formula will focus on blowout science. But before we get to that, let's take a look at how last week's formula worked out.
Tanklins (t) - Three interceptions and a successful fake field goal equal four Tanklins for the Tigers.
Remainders (r) - Put six on the board thanks to #Kony2013.
Opacity (Ω) - In the words of noted numbers wizard Bill C, this was "the OL's best game since 2011," so we'll set the opacity value at a solid 85.
Area (A) - User Kevin McKee expertly described how this value can be calculated in last week's comments, so if you'd like to know why we're setting this value at 600 go check that mess out.
Air Temperature (h) - The Hoosiers had marginal success with their passing game. They were never too hot, probably light jacket weather if you ask me. We'll say it was a tepid 63 degrees in Bloomington.
Now that we have all of our values in place, we can see how our formula worked out:
Shifting our attention to this week's matchup, it quickly becomes apparent that an entirely different formula will be needed. There are several factors that become more important when dealing with games played against large underdogs like Arkansas State, and most of them have to do with quashing upset-related events. As always, we will start by examining what three things will factor in to Points Scored this week: Distance, Decibels, and Swings.
How can you tell that a team has a game in hand? When they're running the ball all three downs. The Tigers currently lead the SEC with an even 270 rushing yards per game, and we have no reason to doubt that Mizzou won't put up a distance value at or above this number. If our three-headed running back monster gets the ball early and often and has success with its opportunities, we can reasonably predict a Tiger victory.
When men were men, they came out and supported their team. The last time the Tigers took the field at Faurot, this wasn't necessarily the case. Sure it was almost 140 degrees on the field and people were passing out in the stands, but we're in the SEC now people. If Mizzou wants to stymie an upset bid, they'll need a fanbase that's ready to give them a momentum boost. Earlier this month, the 12th man in Seattle set a Guinness World Record for loudest stadium noise with an ear-blasting 136.6 decibel outburst, so we'll consider that our ceiling when calculating the numbers.
If Missouri wants to put this game out of reach, one of the easiest ways to do it is by executing big plays that swing the momentum of the game in their favor. In order to consistently measure this, we'll say that a gain of 20 yards or more will be enough to merit a Swing. Theoretically, the Tigers shouldn't need many of these to handle the likes of Arkansas State. Sprinkle in a few of them early on and the equation will most likely tilt heavily toward Mizzou.
With the PS side of the equation defined, the formula now looks like this:
Moving on to the Points Allowed factors, we again see that maintaining the momentum is of great importance when trying to avoid an upset. Because of this, the three key variables on this side of the ball turn out to be Minutes, Turnovers, and, for the second time, Swings.
In order to keep the score firmly in Missouri's control, it's imperative that the defense keep Arkansas State's time of possession as low as possible. A low Minute value means that the defense kept the Red Wolves in check and didn't allow them to put together successful, momentum shifting drives. Since time of possession usually ends up between 20 and 30 minutes, we'll add a multiplier of eight to this value to even it out with Distance plus Decibels.
Since forcing these have become somewhat of a habit of the Tiger defense, we had no choice but to make them a bigger part of this week's formula. Missouri defenders are averaging three turnovers a game, which is unusually high. We can reasonably assume that two of these would easily swing the equation in Mizzou's favor. Turnovers will subtract from the total Points Against, since they hinder the Red Wolves' ability to score. Also, this value should come out to be only one or two, so we'll add a multiplier of 30 to it.
Again, we find big plays to be an extremely important factor in this game. These are probably even more important to the underdog because they instill some hope in the visiting players and fans. Furthermore, we see that most Swings result from mistakes on defense. Arkansas State does not have the offensive talent to compete with Missouri, so it will need to capitalize on any defensive mistakes that occur. Just like on the PS side of the equation, Swings will be represented as a multiplier.
With all of the equation's factors defined, we can now take a look at the formula in its entirety:
As always, big numbers on the PS side of the formula and small ones on the PA side will spell good things for Mizzou. If the Tigers can successfully keep the momentum on their side of the field while grinding out big yards on the ground, an easy win and a 4-0 start should be ripe for the picking.